Local Band Finds Success at an Impressively Young Age

When you hear about the accomplishments of local band The Excelsior Turtles, you might be surprised to find out the members aren’t middle aged, but middle schoolers instead. Two up-and-coming musicians—Brian Williams and Max Scholten, both 13—met three years ago through the Excelsior Rock Club at Minnetonka Music (read more about the rock club in our August 2017 issue). Brian and Max hit it off both personally and musically, and decided to start a band. With a third musician—their Rock Club instructor Cooper Alt—The Excelsior Turtles were born.


For Kids About to Rock

Youngsters who dream of wowing crowds with their musical prowess are in luck—Minnetonka Music is here to teach them how to rock. The Deephaven store is home to the Excelsior Rock Club, which is specifically geared toward kids ages 8 to18. With weekly group rehearsals, private lessons and a public performance to show off their new skills, the program gives kids the chance to learn the fundamentals of rock and roll in a collaborative, encouraging—and, ahem, loud—environment.


Spontaneity, No Regrets

Pippi Ardennia sings jazz straight—without runs, without the vocal “somersaults” they performed at her grandfather’s Pentecostal church on Chicago’s Southside, where Ardennia grew up. “I didn’t like doing all that stuff,” she says. Her parents introduced her to Broadway belters—no frills. “But at the same time, I don’t sing any song the way it was written; every song has to go through my filter.” Ardennia tries not to rehearse.


Small-Town Girl, Big-City Music

In our August 2014 issue, we featured the story of Minnetonka High School graduate Holly Henry, who found success in a national singing competition. Since then, Henry’s star has kept rising. With one full-length album and two EPs under her belt, Henry also has a YouTube channel where she sings originals and cover songs to engage with her nearly 350,000 subscribers.



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